I should have just stuck with my original plan and completely ignored Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. At the very least, I should have abandoned the book as soon as Mr. Bennet was presented as a man who takes a keen interest in the affairs of his family. The Mr. Bennet Austen presented would have been too busy reading about zombies in his library to teach his daughters — all five of them — the “Pentagram of Death.” And Mr. Bennet, who lacks the funds to save his daughters from destitution at his death, certainly would not have sent them to China to learn martial arts.
One thing that really bothered me was the question of why, if as Grahame-Smith says the zombies are all over the roads, would Mr. Bennet allow his daughters to travel to London, Kent, Derbyshire, and Brighton? That seems extremely idiotic, especially for a man who has obviously invested so much time in keeping his daughters safe.
And then to top it all off, Elizabeth completes her rejection of Mr. Darcy with a solid kick to the chest.
“One of her kicks found its mark, and Darcy was sent into the mantelpiece with such force as to shatter its edge. Wiping the blood from his mouth, he looked at her with a smile of affected incredulity.” (pg. 151)
This “reaction” isn’t even becoming in the twenty-first century; it’s called aggravated assault and comes with a pretty hefty prison sentence. I realize that England’s in peril, but even a dagger-wielding Elizabeth would know that her words have a more cutting affect than a kick would. What’s worse is that she’s mean, unbelievably cruel, and our beloved Darcy isn’t Darcy.
The lack of basic, fundamental understanding of the time period and Austen’s characters had my head spinning. The back cover says Grahame-Smith “once took a class in English literature,” and he wasn’t joking or being modest. The best part of this novel are the discussion questions at the end, which range from asking whether this book was written to boost sales (yes!) or Mr. Collins was too stupid to realize his wife was becoming a zombie. My favorite was:
“Some critics have suggested that the zombies represent the authors’ views toward marriage–an endless curse that sucks the life out of you and just won’t die. Do you agree, or do you have another opinion about the symbolism of the unmentionables?” (pg. 318)
Several people told me when I said I wasn’t going to read the book that it’s “85% original text and the rest is zombies.” No. Austen must be rolling over in her grave because not only was her story butchered to make a profit, her name was slapped on this travesty. Even the worst Pride and Prejudice sequel is better than this.
- Grahame-Smith, Seth, and Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Philadelphia: Quirk, 2009. Print. 320 pgs. ISBN: 9781594743344. Source: Library.